Home Automation is Better When It’s Integrated

Posted by , , at 10:00 am

The tech world has been talking about the truly smart home for years, anticipating a time when we could control almost everything in the home with a single interface, even when we weren’t there. And we’ve actually moved a long way in that direction. But this profusion in smart home technology brings multiple problems to consider, and consumers are increasingly aware of them. Two of the biggest problems are lack of security and lack of integration.

What Can We Control?

The list of things we can control remotely (or at least communicate with) is getting longer all the time. And I’m not just talking about using a remote control device in the home: this is about “real” control from far away, using an app. Here are some examples of items in your home that you might want to access remotely.

  • Your alarm system
  • Lights
  • Locks
  • Thermostats
  • Appliances
  • Cameras

The good news is that you can already connect with every devices on the list above today – and with certain providers, you can do it all from a single, integrated app. As the technology evolves, we’ll be able to access even more items.

Who Is Doing What?

We know that many manufacturers and service providers are racing to stake out a position in the smart home arena. And we know that you can find a lot more companies providing these services now than ever before – the list of cool connected devices seems to grow daily. Some of the start-up companies are even crowd-funded!

After all, the technology to connect remotely is not that difficult – especially if you’re not worried about a connection that is relatively easy to hack. Unfortunately, when it comes to camera images or footage (just to name one example), hacking is not something to take lightly.

Security Comes First

Multiple consumer surveys have confirmed the notion that homeowners are looking for security first, and then convenience follows. In other words: make sure your home and your family are protected, and then you can play with how you are connected.

A hallmark of the current smart home arena is that companies who have no background in home security are starting with the smart home, and then expanding their offering to include home security functionality. For those of us who are home security professionals, this can be disturbing for the following reasons:

  • Most of these systems are “Monitor” It Yourself (MIY), meaning it’s up to you to call the police or fire department if your system sends you an alarm: that is, if you receive that alarm signal in the first place! The fact is, true peace of mind only comes from professional monitoring.
  • The majority of these systems communicate over a vulnerable Internet connection vs. a more robust (and reliable) cellular connection. Real alarm companies don’t rely on the Internet for protecting your home and family.
  • Even the way the sensors communicate on almost all these “security light” systems is a problem: Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth, with limited or no data encryption. And as for cameras, there is ample evidence that most of the “security” cameras being sold today are remarkably easy to hack.

How Many Apps Can You Put Up With?

That brings us back to integration, the other big challenge. You really want one app to control everything, or certainly as much as possible. In a perfect world, one single program would you allow to connect to and control your home from anywhere, using a single app. Sadly, very few platforms offer that level of seamless integration.

What you want is a single interface, from which you can look at your cameras, arms and disarm your alarm system, control your lights, reset your thermostat, and unlock (or lock) your doors. And when you layer that level of smart home interactive service over a solid alarm system that is professionally monitored and equipped with a cellular radio (instead of a vulnerable phone line or internet connection), then you have it all.

Find YOUR Solution

It’s simple, really: a real alarm system, and a single app. The companies that offer this best solution are out there – you just have to search for them. And while you’re at it, make sure you ask the right questions. Often, it’s what these companies don’t tell you that is important!

Comments (37)

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  1. Matthew H

    Good article. The world of smart homes is truly going to open up once we solve the integration dilemma. I don’t think we’ve even started to see what kinds of things are possible…

  2. Dan R.

    I agree with many of the replies to this article. I am very disappointed with the LACK of integration provided by Frontpoint. Unless you buy their products, you can’t seem to integrate Frontpoint with anything. There are so many different home automation solutions out there, and most can freely communicate either with eachother, or via a hub. Frontpoint seems to be in the minority. From what I can see, there aren’t even any IFTTT recipes. If I had know how silo’d Frontpoint’s system is, I would have looked at another solution. Frontpoint really needs to get with the times and facilitate integration with the rest of the IOT.

  3. Justin Thomas

    Please add integration with the Wink Hub and app. Their solution supports Zwave, Bluetooth LE, Lutron ClearConnect and basically any other wireless protocol out there. I have dozens of lights, locks, Alexa and sensors automated through Wink and would very much like to add being able to arm my Frontpoint system to the list.

  4. Paresh

    I am a current Front Point customer, and am a little disappointed with the lack of integration between my Schlage Sense lock and the Front Point control panel. I understand I can use the Apple TV to control my lock from beyond my home, but I really would love to have these two integrated directly. As more home automation devices are becoming common occurrences, these security panels need to be compatible with multiple communication channels (z-wave, Bluetooth, etc.). Hope the Front Point product team would prioritize these customer demands (I see most of the comments here are about such integration).

  5. Paul Ling

    I’m still under the trial period and I am waiting to see if Frontpoint becomes compatible with Apple Homekit and Chamberlain MyQ garage opener. Being compatible with these two will tremendously help in the integration process, bringing almost all devices into one app. Will this happen soon?

    Also, I have sensors (door and motion) from other security companies (Time Warner Intelligent Home and a generic Bell & Howell) I used in the past. Am I able to use these with Frontpoint?

    • Katie Rynex

      Paul, at this time our product team is currently researching the compatibility of these platforms with our system. When and if these are able to be integrated, we will make an announcement. Also, I see at this time that you have spoken with one of our Support Specialist who was able to answer your questions regarding your third party sensors. Thanks for reaching out and continue to call us if you have anymore questions!

  6. Larry G

    Is there a status on working with MyQ garage door openers

    • Katie Rynex

      Larry, at this time we do not have any updates on the MyQ garage door openers but we will let you, and all of our customers, know as soon as we do!

  7. Yer

    Can you integrate your app and system to be compatible with Amazon Alexander and IFTTT for home automation please?

    • Katie Rynex

      Thank you for reaching out yer! At this time IFTTT is not compatible with our system but we are able to integrate with Amazon Alexa. We would like to have a Support Specialist reach out to you and assist in this matter but we are having trouble finding your account with the information provided. Please send and email with the first and last name on the account to Wecare@frontpointsecurity.com so that we may assist you in this matter. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

  8. marty

    you use the Skybell for video doorbell?

    what thermostats work with your automated system? all wifi thermostats?
    i Device thermostats?

    • Katie Rynex

      Thanks for reaching out Marty! Yes, we do use Skybell for our doorbell camera. In regards to compatible thermostats, our thermostats connect with our system via Z-wave technology. Although most Z-wave thermostats can connect with our system, we have a list of devices of which we can Guarantee comparability and functionality. I will make sure to have one of our Support Supervisors send you a list of compatible thermostats via the email address you have provide here! Thanks for the great question and we hope this answer was helpful!

  9. Audio visual Auckland

    I have automation system in my house but it’s only for lightning through a remote. I am considering for recodification as this seems to be more helpful after all cameras systems are priority concern it will be great if they are controlled through an app.

  10. Ted

    I have been a long Frontpoint user and have seen the company mature which I enjoy. Bringing newer technology to Frontpoint is wise to do. First, I completely support Security first. Second, I used Amazon Alexa and Wink to voice control items that can’t be control by voice on my GE system. Third, intergrating Alexa would be a nice addition, especially if you can arm and disarm your system by voice and control locks, lights, temperature, etc… On a side note, I would like better camera resolution, something in more of a HD. I have both the old camera and new camera and other companies camera are more clearer than ours and price cheaper.

  11. Vern

    Frontpoint,

    I have your system for doors, windows, temp sensor, etc. What I really, really, need is a sensor that will let me know if my well pump is running when no one is home. And if my sump pump is running.

    This would be a simple Z-wave type sensor connected to the pump switch. Or a Z-wave sensor that clamps on the power cable to those pumps to sense current draw when the pump is started.

    Can Frontpoint recommend sensors for that purpose, or do I need to switch to a Vera system?
    Thanks, Vern

  12. Bob

    Although I believe they are viewed as “not supported” I have the Lutron Smart Bridge Pro and Chamberlain MYQ working with my FrontPoint service, and control for those devices is available via the Windows phone app. They work, but I have not tested them extensively. I think FrontPoint needs to find a way to differentiate “not supported” into two groups. One is that there is no way to interface the device, versus it can be interfaced but we do not have the experience/training to provide help with the device.

    • Katie Rynex

      Thanks for sharing your suggestion with us!

    • Trey

      Bob,

      Would you mind sharing how you got the MyQ to connect to your Frontpoint system? Thanks.

  13. Korey

    I agree with your article that says security is what people want first, but having a list of automation products that you do support, as well as support for industry leaders such as the MyQ would be huge. I am looking to automate past my security system and a list of what you do support, as well as a list of customer requests, would be a great start. It would allow your customers to further enhance their security system.

  14. Jim

    I agree. I am another customer that has TWO Chamberlain MyQ garage openers and know they can be part of the sercurity app. When can we get this?!!

    Thanks!

  15. Stefan

    With all the limits on integration, I’m sadly planning on not renewing my Frontpoint contract when it expires. I want at least IFTTT at the very least – and at this point would even settle for a non-monitored solution because the security I can add through integration with CO, fire, lights, smartlocks, etc. feels more important to my family’s health and safety and convenience.

    • Editor

      Stefan, we understand where you are coming from. The IFTTT feature is not something we can promise immediately, therefore, we understand if you won’t be renewing with us. Thank you for this feedback and we’re going to give it to our products team.

  16. Dan Johnson

    I’m still wondering if Frontpoint and Alarm.com plan to support Apple’s HomeKit. This would certainly improve this service’s automation options!

  17. Scott

    When are you going to make the Chamberlain MyQ Garage door system available? It has been a standard feature in Alarm.com and Simon systems for a long time and you continue to say that your “Testing” it. Very frustrating to not have this very basic home automation function when its already supported by your software and hardware vendors.

    • Tamara

      I second Scott’s request. I am planning to buy the Chamberlain MyQ garage door system soon. Frontpoint integration would seal the deal.

    • Frank

      Agree, have been waiting for a garage door control for several years. Hope to see it soon. When we are away and see that the garage door is “open” we don’t know if this is false (happens occasionally) or true and can’t do anything about it, .i.e., close the garage door.

      • Editor

        Frank, there are a few things which can cause the sensor to have an “open” status when the door is actually closed. If you like, I can have someone reach out to you and check the sensor with you. Please let me know what you prefer!

  18. Brandon

    This article would have been much better with a link to the devices you support linking to!

    Is the Nest a device you guys support?

    • Valerie Saponara

      Brandon, we tend to not publish an exact list of everything we support because that list changes frequently. Regarding your question about nest: we currently do not support that device.

      • Tamara

        Valerie, could Frontpoint revisit its process? If the Supported Devices list is growing, that’s a really good thing. Just make it a part of your monthly (or whatever frequency) process to update the online list.

        I am fully behind the “security first, automation second” philosophy – that’s why I continue to stay with Frontpoint. But as customers are trying to figure out how to make their homes smarter, knowing what Frontpoint currently supports, what’s in the queue to support, and will not support would make it easier.

  19. Jeff

    Please add the capacity to interface with Lutron Smart Bridge PRO so lights will flash and come on if there is an alarm. It is compatible from alarm.com.

    • Scott

      I agree Jeff, why doesn’t Front point support these Alarm.com standard feature sets. Really falling behind in the integrated home automation field IMHO.

    • Tamara

      What are Frontpoint’s plans to support lighting systems? I want to go with the GE Z-Wave lighting products (outlets, switches, dimmers, etc.), but my contractor is pushing Lutron. Given that Frontpoint already uses GE security hardware, my hope is that GE lighting products will (soon) follow suit.

      • Editor

        Tamara, there are a number of z-wave lighting systems on the market that we do support, GE being one of them!

  20. Joseph Moore

    When are you going to add Linear Z-Wave Garage Controller (GD00Z) to your home automation? Most other companies are now offering it

    • Valerie Saponara

      Joseph, great question! At this time this is not a device we currently support, however we’re going to take your suggestion to our Products Team for future consideration.

    • Andy G

      I second the request to add this device. The device is already approved by Alarm.com.
      Linear Z-Wave Garage Controller (GD00Z)

      This is a the terrible outdoor camera options are giving second thoughts about continuing with Frontpoint.

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